Last updated: January 5, 2023

Creating a concept map is a great way to organize and visualize information. It can be used to help students learn and understand complex topics, as well as to help professionals brainstorm and plan projects. It is are also useful for organizing ideas and concepts, and for helping to identify relationships between them.

By creating a concept map, you can quickly and easily see the big picture of a topic, and then break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This makes it easier to understand the topic and to remember the information. By having a concept map, you can also identify gaps in your knowledge and areas that need further exploration.

Concept Map template: Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Identify the Concept

Decide what the main concept is that you want to explore

The concept map typically starts with a central concept which are the ideas that are being represented in the map and then branches out to more specific related concepts.

Consider the related concepts that fit with the main concept and will help to explain it

Each branch can have further sub-divisions and so on, eventually reaching the most specific and detailed concepts or items.

Step 2: Choose a Concept Mapping Tool

Select a concept map software that fits your needs

When selecting a concept map software, consider the features the software offers, the cost, and the user support. Make sure the software you select meets your specific needs before purchasing.

Install the software and become familiar with its features

Reviewing the user guides, tutorials, and other resources provided by the software vendor will help you get up to speed quickly. Depending on the software, you may also have options to customize the look of your concept map and collaborate with others.

Step 3: Brainstorm and Gather Ideas

Generate ideas and make a list of the concepts and their related items

The concept map consists of a central concept, surrounded by related concepts and their associated items. The map can contain multiple levels of related items, which can be arranged in a hierarchical way.

Jot down all the ideas that come to mind don’t worry about organizing them just yet

For example, if the central concept is “Technology”, then the related concepts could be “Software Applications”, “Hardware”, “Networking”, and “Services”. Each one of these related concepts can then have further sub-categories and related items, such as “Word Processing” under “Software Applications”, “Processors” under “Hardware”, “LAN” and “WAN” under “Networking”, and “Maintenance” and “Consulting” under “Services”.

Step 4: Organize the Concepts

Group related concepts and items together

For example, with the “Technology” concept as the central point, one can jot down all the related concepts and items that come to mind, such as:

Technology: Software Applications, Hardware, Networking, Services

Software Applications: Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Presentations

Hardware: Processors, Memory, Storage

Networking: LAN, WAN, Wireless

Services: Maintenance, Installation, Consulting

Think about the hierarchy of the concepts which come first, second, and third?

A concept map is a visual representation of related concepts and items, typically laid out in hierarchical order from most general to most specific. It allows users to see how ideas are connected, identify patterns and relationships, and understand how ideas fit into a larger structure.

Step 5: Create the Concept Map

Connect related concepts, adding labels to explain their relationship

Start by placing the main concept in the center of the map. This is the most important concept and should be the focus. Draw branches from the main concept to related concepts and items, making sure to draw them in a logical order. Connect related concepts, adding labels to explain their relationship. This will help explain the connection between the concepts and provide a clearer understanding of the concept map.

Add pictures, colors, and other graphical devices to reinforce the connections between the concepts

This will make the concept map visually appealing, more understandable, and help to emphasize the important concepts and relationships between them.

Step 6: Edit and Review

Edit and add details as needed

The review of the concept map involves analyzing the structure of the concept map to ensure that all concepts and items are connected logically and that all connections are adequately explained. This process can involve ensuring that no concepts are missing, ensuring that the relationships between concepts are clear, and that any supplementary information provided is necessary and accurate. After the review, any edits or additional details which are required should be made to the concept map in order to make it more comprehensive.

Save the concept map

Once the concept map is complete, it should be saved in order to ensure that it can be accessed and utilized later.

Concept map: FAQs concisely answered

What are the benefits of using concept maps?

The benefits of using concept maps are that they can be used to structure and organize information, and to make connections between concepts. They can also be used to help people understand complex concepts, and to make learning more efficient and effective. Additionally, concept maps can be used to facilitate communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.

How are concept maps used in education?

Concept maps can be used in education to help students learn and understand concepts. They can be used to organize and structure information, and to help students make connections between concepts. They can also be used to facilitate discussion and collaboration between students, and to help them develop critical thinking skills.

What are the differences between concept maps and mind maps?

The main difference between concept maps and mind maps is that concept maps are used to represent knowledge, while mind maps are used to brainstorm and generate ideas. Additionally, concept maps are typically hierarchical, with the main concepts at the top and the related concepts below, while mind maps are more free-form, with the main concepts in the center and the related concepts around it.

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